Barbecue Boot Camp
Some travelers want to plop on a beach and get brilliantly bronzed; others want to hit as many new destinations as possible (one friend of mine who loves ticking places off the map will be heading soon to North Korea). Still others, as described in this recent New York Times article, want to explore a culture by cooking its cuisine.
If there are people in that last group who also love barbecue, then Camp BBQ, sponsored by New York City's Institute of Culinary Education, might just be their idea of perfection. I recently met up with cookbook author Elizabeth Karmel (Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ), who'll be leading three upcoming Camp BBQ trips. The first, which will take place later this month, will stop at legendary joints in North Carolina bbq country; the last, in November, will tour the best barbecue places in Texas Hill Country. The second trip, in Illinois this September, is as hands-on as it gets: After a tutorial with famed pit master Mike Mills, participants will form a team and enter the 20th annual Murphysboro BBQ Cook-Off. Now that's trial-by-fire learning.